If you’re someone who is interested in getting into shape, then you will likely have made attempts at starting a training regime or a new diet. If you are like 80% of the general population though, then you will have found that sticking to these new programs is something of a challenge and you end up quitting your new regime and reverting back to your old habits. In other words then, if you aren’t managing to get into shape, then there’s a very good chance that the reason for this is something mental as opposed to something physical and what you need to do is to change your thinking.
Thankfully there is a recognized way to change your thinking and this is something that psychologists rely on. This is called ‘Cognitive Restructuring’ which is a part of CBT or ‘Cognitive Behavioral Therapy’. Here we will look at how it works.
The Idea Behind Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
The basic concept behind CBT is that action are a result of our thoughts and beliefs, and that these can be changed by the right kind of training. Basically, if you are currently afraid of heights, then you will probably find that when you encounter them you think a lot of unhelpful things like ‘imagine if I fell’ or ‘I know someone who fell off a building’. These thoughts are habitual and have been enforced over a huge amount of time. However, they can be replaced by repeating more positive comments in your mind over and over again – using ‘positive affirmation’.
In other words then, the next time you were to find yourself thinking ‘I’m going to fall’ you would instead think ‘I’d have to be an idiot to fall’ or ‘I can just hold onto a railing’. If you repeat this often enough it becomes your new habitual thought and you no longer feel like you’re going to fall off.
So how does this apply to health and weight loss? Well for instance it can be used to reprogram yourself so that you no longer crave chocolate or sweets. To do this all you need to do is to use affirmations in order to convince yourself that you no longer like cake. Next time you find yourself imaging cake then, simply say to yourself ‘I don’t like cake’ and maybe even try imagining a nasty taste in your mouth or something unbearably sweet. Now if you do this every time then you can help yourself to no longer want cake.
Similarly, you can restructure the way you think about those cravings. Instead of thinking ‘God I need sugar’ you should change this thought to ‘ignoring this craving is causing me to burn fat’ and again if you keep thinking this way you can reinterpret the sensation of a craving so that you see it as a good thing not to satisfy it.
Finally, you can also help yourself to get in the gym more often by changing the way you think about it. Instead of thinking about it as something horrible and sweaty, instead you need to start focusing on what’s good about it – reminding yourself that you will feel great when you’ve finished your workout and that it doesn’t have to be long at all. In order to change your behavior, you need to first change your thinking, and cognitive restructuring gives you the way to do this.
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